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Posts Tagged ‘genre’

Another Notch in the Headboard

With a title like that, you’re probably thinking, “What is that freak up to now?” Well, not to disappoint you, but it’s just an indicator another year come and gone. I’m excited to have made it to the other side (2014), and I think I’ve learned a lot in 2013 that I can reflect on and share. So, without wasting any more time, I’ll jump into sharing the wisdom I gained in 2013 (read: what stupid things I did), and the data behind it.

#1: Never blindly trust an absentee landlord with a gambling addiction that lives in Las Vegas.

#2: Publishing smut (or romance) with a masculine name is an uphill battle. In a blizzard. With enemy machine gunners hiding in fortified pillboxes above you.

#3: Publishing mystery / detective novels is also a hard genre to get into (no machine guns though).

#4: Trying to break into any new genre is difficult because the readers that know and like you probably aren’t interested in trying out the new genre.

#5: Science Fiction and Fantasy are my sweet spots, so I should focus more on those. Except I can’t stop myself from writing other stories because, damn it, they need to be told!

#6 The last quarter of the year kind of sucks for book sales, whereas the first two are the best.

#7 Collaborating with another writer can be a frustrating process or it can be a wonderful experience. For me in 2013 it was a great opportunity. I expect that to continue in 2014 and (perhaps) beyond.

#8 The writing and publishing industry is in a state of constant upheaval and reinvention. That does not mean we should throw our hands up in the air and just have faith that it will all work out. That would be like a book-worshipping religion. Writing is both art and science and to succeed we have to focus on the stats and numbers as well as proper timing of when to sacrifice small woodland creatures to the writing gods.

#9 I can write fast if I have the availability to do so. In the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge I unofficially decided to destroy I wrote two novels instead of just one. While working full time, having a family, and sleeping an average of 6 hours a night. Since I can write fast, I should write fast – that’s what professional editing is for.

#10 Audiobooks are a lot of work! And that’s with me not reading them! The market is there and it’s growing though, so I recommend people hop on the wagon. I have 5 books in audio at present with 1 more about to be released and three more in the process.

 

Now the numbers behind it.

My Total Books Published: 44

My books published in 2013: 16 (2 of which are omnibuses)

My books written in 2013: 14 (not counting the omnibuses twice, nor a book published in early January of 2013, but I did count the book I finished near the end of December but won’t publish for a week or two into 2014.)

Total Books sold (Amazon US and UK only): 27,636

Books by Genre

-Science Fiction:           12,035

-Fantasy:                       13,598

-Urban Fantasy:             1,265

-The Rest:                          738

My thoughts and notes on the above numbers: Pretty darn cool. In 2012 I sold over 35,000 books, but a lot of those were $.99 novellas that I rolled into my Vitalis Omnibus book in late 2012. And yes, I mean a lot (I had a few months with 5,000+ of the $.99 novellas sold). What’s a potentially more impressive number is that in 2012 I saw almost $50k in royalties from Amazon US & UK. In 2013 my Amazon US and UK royalties were over $72,000.

Why do I keep mentioning the US and UK? Those are my biggest markets. With that said, in 2013 I began to regularly see sales each month in Canada, Germany, and Australia. Tangible sales that beat the minimums necessary to send out royalty checks each month. Tangible or not, they typically double digits only, not triple.

Audiobooks? Thanks for asking. I’d wager I made around $500 in audiobooks last year. Not much, but hey, my first book wasn’t available until late June and I didn’t hit 5 available for sale until December 24th. I may never get all my books on audio, but I’ll keep pushing to get them transitioned, especially when I review the work done by my amazing narrators. My two most recent ones sent chills down my spine and made me literally laugh, gasp, and otherwise react out loud when listening to them. In a good way! One of them is Child of Fate, which should be available any day now. The other is Wolfgirl, which is in progress and hopefully will be available by the end of February.

On the writing front I’m about 25% of the way through my next Vitalis book (and I just finished Vitalis: Invasion, which should be released in a week or two). Why write back to back Vitalis books? Two reasons: the first is that the story is burning in my head and wants to be told. The second reason is because I’ve seen a strong surge in my Vitalis series in December. With book sales being the strongest in the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year, it makes sense to capitalize on that by giving my readers what they are showing me they want. This will be the 5th Vitalis novel, but remember the first one (Vitalis Omnibus) contains 7 novellas within it.

What does 2014 hold for me on the writing front? More writing! I’m working on my 46th book right now and I have every intention of hitting the 50 book mark and beyond this year. I’m considering a sequel to Human Nature and I’ve already written a short story to kick it off (unreleased so far). There will be more Voidhawk, more Dark Earth, more Fallen Angels (co-written with J. Knight Bybee) and possibly more Lost Girls, as well as a continuation of both my Homeland and my Cookie Cutters series. Oh, and Vitalis – it’s an amazing setting with so much opportunity it would take a team of writers to even begin to tap into its potential.

A lot of writers are scared or overwhelmed by the chaos in the publishing / writing industry these days. Don’t be! Embrace it. Make it your own and carve out a piece. Readers have more available to them now than ever. I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings, so let’s get started on it!

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

NaNoWriMo for Wussies

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, don’t feel bad. I had to look it up a couple of years ago when I first heard about it. In fact, I’m still not sure what it stands for. What I do know is that it’s a pain in the butt to write a made up word with varying capitalization throughout it. But that’s just me being crotchety.

My next complaint about NanowhateverMo is how excited people get about it. And by people I mean writers (Yes, we’re people too. Strange people, but still people). I see Facebook posts and tweets and even emails talking it up and getting themselves psyched for the month of November and what that entails. I see it and I wince. I cringe. I shake my head. Then I move on.

So what is NeenerNeernerMo? It’s a challenge that was thought up and issues at some point in the past for writers to write a novel within the month of November. Just the rough draft, not a finished product. But still, an entire novel in a month?! That’s crazy!

Or is it? I’ve never consciously taken part in NaMoWamoDingDong and I’ve been writing a book a month for close to two years now. Honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. If you want to write a book that quick, then do it. Don’t waste time that could be spent writing by drumming up a bunch of pomp and ceremony to announce it. Just do it.

On the other hand I do understand that some people like a challenge. Some people want to feel inspired and provoked. For them this helps them focus and put words to paper. Writing is a learning experience that never ends. Historically novels are supposed months and years to write. Technology and the upheavals in the publishing industry have changed all that. If NannerWhammer is what helps a writer evolve with it, then more power to them.

Me, I don’t bother with the distraction or the hype. I just keep plugging away and producing quality books that more and more people are discovering and loving. Case in point, I’m waiting anxiously to release last month’s project, Vitalis: Genesis. The cover art, by Willsin Rowe, is outstanding. In fact, it’s almost as good as what’s behind the cover! Genesis is the 4th novel in my Vitalis science fiction series. This one is more than just pure futuristic sci-fi though, it’s got some horror worked in as well.

And since you were probably wondering, this month’s project is Dragonlady, the 4th and final book in my Order of the Dragon fantasy series. Next month…well, I’m not sure. I’ve got some great ideas though, but there’s a lot of days between now and then so I don’t want to lock myself into something yet. That also means my reader have a very real chance to influence what comes next. Hint, hint.

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Writing Outside of the Box

November 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I had somebody ask me a while back on this very blog if it was suicide for a writer to write in more than one genre. My feelings are that it should be quite the opposite, and here’s why.

I’m a science fiction writer, but my second most successful series is a fantasy series called Voidhawk. Granted, Voidhawk is a space fantasy, but I assure you there is little to no science to be found in it. I’ve also dabbled in a few other genres, including romance. Only once so far, but it was a fun experience and I may very well revisit it in the future. So with that said I clearly have no qualms about jumping genres. In fact many of my titles cross genres. I’m reckless like that. I’ve been known to let my veggies cross the line on my plate to mingle with my steak as well.

I believe in a story, whether its mine or not. The story, if it’s good, determines how enjoyable a read it is, not the genre or length. So you’ve got astronauts landing on a derelict space ship, neat. They stumble into a locked vault that hasn’t been opened in centuries? Cool. Their are giants entombed in the hold with the bodies of horses? Rock on! They just woke up and sank their fangs into the human astronauts, sucking out their blood and turning them into vampires? Um…sure, why not?

My stories aren’t quite that exotic. If I could find a way to make it work I wouldn’t be opposed to giving it a shot. I do have a series that starts with urban fantasy and jumps heavily into paranormal (Dark Earth). From there it continues to blend in science fiction and more paranormal (The Lost Girls, Voices), and also introduce a heavy dose of mystery / hard boiled detective (The Lost Girls, upcoming release of Traitor).

Readers are smart people. They know what they like and when they find it, they’ll read it. In most cases they’re not going to view a writer who strayed from their chosen genre as a traitor. In fact, it’s far more likely that they’re probably going to be more likely to step out of their own comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary because of it. I have a few readers who have told me that they’ve strayed into unfamiliar waters because they liked my writing style. The end result was them being excited at being introduced to a new genre.

Now if you’ve got a genre where you’re consistently nailing best sellers with each release it might be prudent to stick with it. Otherwise expand your horizons and branch out. Try something new, you’ll grow from it and more than likely grow your reader pool, rather than decrease it!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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